New York Post
November 16, 2007

COPS' 'LONG' G'BYE

45 Join Nassau Force

By PHILIP MESSING

Forty-five NYPD cops quit this month to join the Nassau County Police Department, a group that accounts for nearly half of the suburban force's 99 new recruits, sources said yesterday.

Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, claimed the latest wave of NYPD resignations illustrates the non-competitive salaries being paid by the city. The top annual pay for an NYPD cop is $59,588 compared to $92,432 for Nassau, he noted.

"When a town with a lower median income and lower real property value like Elizabeth, NJ, can pay their police officers $15,000 more than New York City while Nassau County pays over $30,000 more, it should be no surprise that they will be siphoning off some of our best and brightest police officers," Lynch said.

Such disparities, he added, cause the city to "waste" $100,000 in costs "to recruit, investigate, screen medically and psychologically and train each officer" who ends up quitting New York's Finest.

The 45 NYPD officers sworn in as Nassau recruits on Nov. 2 represent a higher overall percentage of Big Apple cops than in previous classes, a Nassau Police Department spokesman acknowledged.

As evidence of an attrition problem, Lynch pointed out that in 1991 only 159 police officers resigned from the NYPD while 902 quit in 2006.

Lynch said defections this year through October - a figure that the NYPD puts at 816 - is enough to staff five precincts and represents a brain drain that is costing the department dearly.

"There seems to be a direct correlation between our salaries falling farther and farther behind other nearby police departments and the ever-increasing numbers of fully trained and experienced NYC police officers quitting before they are eligible to collect a pension," Lynch said.

"Attrition of experienced officers is not the problem," countered NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.

"The problem is recruiting and retaining new recruits at the lowered [starting] salary of $25,100. Historically, NYPD attrition has ranged from about 2 percent to 3 percent, which is low for any organization."

He added that although 232 NYPD cops quit during the first 10 months of this year to join other police departments, that represented "about half of 1 percent of the force."

"The majority left for other reasons, including 196 for disciplinary or poor performance," he said.

philip.messing@nypost.com